Opened: Friday, January 16, 1998|
Directed by Manny Coto
Starring Joseph Mazzello, Richard Gilliland, Joey Simmrin, Corinne Bohrer, Ashlee Levitch & Lauren Eckstrom.
The fact that "Star Kid" was originally titled "Cyborsuit" should tell you a lot about the movie -- all gimmick, no plot.
Starring awkwardly cute Joseph Mazzello ("Jurassic Park") as a 7th-grader who finds a high-tech combat suit/robot from another planet, the movie is largely the standard "I'm OK, You're OK" kiddie fare with a few fart jokes thrown in so the kids won't realize they're being spoon-fed a lesson about self-esteem.
Cy the cyborsuit -- a silver concoction with a Batsuit butt and a pissed-off Pillsbury Dough Boy face -- explains to the kid that he is an interactive suit of armor that has crash-landed on Earth after its peaceful midget inventors were whipped in battle by the giant, dragon-like Broodwarriors. A prototype of a new weapon, Cy was launched into space to prevent him from falling into enemy hands.
Following a familiar outline, the kid has a bevy of pubescent crises to overcome -- a recently dead mom, a dad whose cell phone is permanently attached to his ear, a girl who makes him nervous -- all of which he learns to cope with after climbing inside Cy, forming a friendship and performing some gravity-defying gymnastics.
"Star Kid" doesn't approach being "fun for all ages," like, say "MouseHunt" or "Hercules," but it is the kind of kids' movie an adult can comfortably sit through without wanting to gnaw off an arm.
While it's brimming with tiresome robotic lingo ("factual" replaces "yes" in Cy's vocabulary) and scenes designed to crack kids up while parents sit stoic (the kid trying to explain he needs out of the suit to pee), Mazzello is a reasonably good actor and manages to make this recycled stuff relatively entertaining. And besides, the Broodwarriors are pretty cool.
Looking like a stegosaurus crossed with a Klingon, they have slimy spines that they peel off their bodies and morph into weapons. In the last half of the movie they show up on Earth looking for the suit, so the kid has to do battle with them, thus instilling him with the confidence he needs to chat up the girl and stave off the class bully, Turbo (Joey Simmrin, the best thing in the movie).
"Star Kid" never strays from the expected, even wrapping up with a big "E.T." farewell scene, but as kiddie flicks go, you could do a lot worse.